When I was attending the VCE event organized by Nexus at Cisco, I realized how a switch ties into the virtualization infrastructure – obvious for most of the experts, I know. So the race is on for Brocade. Cisco’s UCS switch brings Ethernet FCoE and KVM together on one cable and one switch. Cuts down on power and makes redundant setups much easier to implement. There might other companies doing the same. But I don’t em. Even more appealing is what you can do when switch and blade work together. An early implementor of such a system was Egenera. Unfortunately, they used an VI based interconnect, which went nowhere. In their case they used system nodes that routed the traffic coming off the VI based interconnect to the outside world and storage.
So having a switch, that runs part of the system software certainly helps if you add features such as load balancing, and IP/FCoE failover . Live failover or Vmotion, workload distribution are benefiting from that type of architecture. which is why they all want a switch that works with their architecture. Though Vmware and Microsoft – as pure SW providers – might still have s say in this.